Hello Bookworms and welcome to another Feature Friday! For those of you who don’t know about Feature Friday or if it is your first time on Bookwormstothemax, every Friday you can see posts about new bookish videos, announcements, authors, and etc. If you have any suggestions for a Feature Friday, let me know by leaving a comment below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org !
This Friday, I’m excited to share with you my interview with Johanna Parkhurst. I first found out about her books a few months ago and I’m happy I did. If you haven’t read any of Johanna’s books before, I highly recommend that you do! Check out her website here.
Eileen: Thank you Johanna for joining all of us here on Bookwormstothemax! We are so happy to have you! First off, What made you decide to become an author?
Johanna: I’m not sure I ever decided to be a writer—I’ve just always loved making up stories in my head and putting them on paper. I wrote my first “book” when I was eight: The Story of Jackie, the Killer Whale. My mom said it was awesome, so I figured I’d keep up the whole writing thing.
Eileen: Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it and why?
Johanna: I can’t imagine writing horror because I can’t read a horror book without having to close it every five seconds (I scare really easily). Other than that, everything’s on the table. The best part of writing is that it allows you to be a part of so many different worlds.
Eileen: Harmony Ink Press publishes LGBT-related Young Adult Books. What inspired you to write YA LGBT novels?
Johanna: I didn’t initially set out to write Dusty Porter (in Here’s to You, Zeb Pike) as a gay character. Over many, many drafts Dusty just happened to end up falling in love with Emmitt…and thus I had written a novel about a gay teenager (I sometimes joke that my own character came out to me).
Then, at the same time that I was looking to get Here’s to You, Zeb Pike published, I was also bringing more and more literature with LGBTQ characters into my middle school classroom. A principal I was working with made the following plea to me: “Please don’t just bring in stories where the gay kids get beat up and bullied and commit suicide all the time. I feel like that’s all kids see these days. I want them to know that not everyone’s story is like that.” I’m not saying those types of stories shouldn’t be out there, and neither was my principal. Those stories are vitally important to teens who need to see the worst possible consequence of bullying behavior. They are also vitally important to those teenagers who have had such an experience and need to know they are not alone. But when I was writing Every Inferno, I decided I wanted to write another story featuring LGBTQ characters, and that this time I wanted to create a high school which leans towards acceptance and inclusion. So I created the character of McKinley, a gay 16-year-old who enjoys huge popularity in his high school.
Eileen: What advice would you give LGBT teens who are struggling with themselves and their identity?
Johanna: What a great question. Almost every teen I’ve ever known is struggling with defining who they are in what way or another, and the advice I often give to them is this: surround yourself with the right people. People who appreciate every aspect of your identity, even if that identity is changing in some way. People who will support you in the process of defining yourself. People who will stand by you. That’s not always easy to do. Not everyone has people like that readily available. So seek them out. Actively look for them. They’re out there somewhere.
Eileen: Here’s to You, Zeb Pike was your first novel. Can you tell the readers a little bit about it?
Johanna: Here’s to You, Zeb Pike is about Dusty Porter, a fourteen-year-old boy who is left to take care of his brother and sister by himself…and what happens when someone finally figures out what’s going on and Dusty’s life is turned upside down. It’s sad, and funny, and the characters in it were great fun to write.
Eileen: Your newest book, Every Inferno, was recently released. How is it different from Here’s to You, Zeb Pike?
Johanna: Every Inferno is a lot darker. While the topics addressed in Here’s to You, Zeb Pike aren’t lighthearted, that book has a decent amount of humor laced into it. Every Inferno is about an alcoholic teenager trying to solve the mystery of his parents’ murder, so the tone of that book is much more serious. Although, if you like sarcasm, you’ll still probably find it funny. JJ is pretty acerbic.
Eileen: What books are you currently reading?
Johanna: I’m just about to start Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin. It’s a YA novel about a character who’s born intersex, and it’s getting wonderful reviews.
Eileen: What is your strategy to get rid of writer’s block?
Johanna: It’s AWFUL. Most writers would say you should never do this!! Basically…I work on 2-3 projects at all times, and I jump back and forth whenever one stalls. While I would say that this strategy works for me, it also means that it takes forever for me to finish a draft of anything.
Eileen: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
Johanna: I’m all over the place with names. Dusty’s name represents the fact that his life is in constant change—dust that hasn’t settled anywhere yet. But JJ’s name has no meaning whatsoever. I just liked the initials and started calling him that as I drafted the book. I didn’t even figure out what JJ stood for until the third chapter!
Eileen: What are you working on now? A new book? Project?
Johanna: Naturally, I’m working on two projects right now. One is my first attempt at a picture book! That’s taking some time, because I’ve never written one before. The other is a novel featuring a teenage girl who’s a history geek…and spends a lot of time with toilet seats. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now.
Thank you again, Johanna, for joining us on Bookwormstothemax!
Johanna Parkhurst grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont before relocating to the rocky mountains of Colorado. She spends her days helping teenagers learn to read and write and her evenings writing things she hopes they’ll like to read. She strives to share stories of young adults who are as determined, passionate, and complex as the ones she shares classrooms with.
Johanna holds degrees from Albertus Magnus College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves traveling, hiking, skiing, watching football, and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband.
Until next time….
Catcha later bookworms!
Welcome to another Feature Friday, Bookworms!
Every Friday, you can see cool bookish videos, announcements, guest bloggers, author interviews, and much more! So come back and see what’s new! If you are a blogger or author who would like to participate in a Feature Friday, contact me through my email: bookworm(underscore)tothemax(at)yahoo(dot)com ! As always, leave a comment if you have any questions, comments, or just want to say hi!
This Friday, I am proud to have Rebekah Crane here on Bookwormstothemax. Thank you so much Rebekah for taking the time to do an interview!
Eileen: Your upcoming novel, Aspen, will be released pretty soon. How would you describe it in one word?
Eileen: Aspen has some interesting characters. Were they based on people you know?
Rebekah: No one specific. Sometimes character’s little quirks are inspired by people I know (like Leona and Toaster in ASPEN), but never anything big. Though I will say, there is something about Ben that is very specific to me, but I’m not revealing that. 🙂
Eileen: If you had to choose, which writer (or writers) would you consider as a mentor?
Rebekah: Jane Austen, Jane Austen, JANE AUSTEN! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Ok, I won’t list everything, but she is my idol. Her ease of wit and humor is amazing. Her slight (and not slight) commentary on society and the inner workings of people is truly brilliant. Yes… I want to have her brain.
Eileen: What book/books are you reading now?
Rebekah: I have a few books going at the same time. Right now, I’m just about done with Bethany Crandell’s YA debut SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS. It’s brilliant. She and I are so similar it’s crazy. We might take over the world together. I’m also reading Jessica Park’s new novel FLAT-OUT CELESTE. I’ve been with the book since the beginning; I’m so damn invested and I love this story. And I just downloaded LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS.
Eileen: As a writer, what is the hardest part in writing a novel?
Rebekah: For me, it’s patience. So much of publishing is waiting. Waiting for the story to take shape. Waiting for editors to get back to you. Waiting for readers to read your book. Waiting for publication dates. And it never ends. When one book goes to print, there’s always another story to be written. I have to remind myself to breathe.
Eileen: What advice would you give an aspiring author (a.k.a Meeeee!)?
Rebekah: Learn to take criticism and find good people to give it to you.
Eileen: Is there a reason you chose to write novels in the Young Adult genre over other genres?
Rebekah: I never considered writing anything other than YA. Teenagers are so raw. Everything sits on the surface and at the same time is buried so deep. It’s awesome to explore that within characters and stories.
Eileen: When did you decide to become an author?
Rebekah: When I turned 30. I’m not one of those people who knew that they wanted to be a writer from birth. I wanted to star on Broadway when I was in high school. I wasn’t even in honors English.
Eileen: How do you get rid of writer’s block?
Rebekah: I do a lot of yoga. I also talk to my writer friends. They help a lot.
Eileen: What are you working on now? a sequel? anything new?
Rebekah: My next book is called CONDITIONS OF EXISTENCE. It’s a dark comedy about a summer camp for teenagers with “heightened mental and emotional states”– basically kids with depression, anxiety, compulsive lying, eating disorders, all the way to schizophrenia. I pitched it as The Breakfast Club on crack at summer camp. I absolutely LOVE writing it.
There you have it bookworms! Aspen releases June 5th. Buy it. Read it. Love it.
Thank you for joining us again, Rebekah!
Rebekah Crane fell in love with YA literature while studying Secondary English Education at Ohio University. After having two kids, living in six different cities, and finally settling down in the foothills of her beloved Rocky Mountains, her first novel, PLAYING NICE, was published. ASPEN, her second YA novel, set in Boulder, CO, is due to release in summer 2014 from In This Together Media. She now spends her day carpooling kids or tucked behind a laptop at 7,500 ft high in the Rockies, where the altitude only enhances the experience.
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out!
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Book Covers I’d Frame as Art. To make things easier, I decided to pick covers of books that I already own or else I’d spend hours sifting through Goodreads and Barnes and Noble!
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi : I love how intricate the cover is and how powerful it is. I literally sit in class all day long sketching this cover!
Alienated by Melissa Landers : Even though I did not like the books as much as I though I would, the reason I was so drawn to Alienated was because of the cover. The models look stunning and the background totally compliments the cover!
Left Drowning by Jessica Park : Simplicity is beautiful. This cover would be something I would hang in my room. In matter of fact, maybe I might just do that. 🙂
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare : This cover is just WOW. It’s like something you would see in a big art museum. Hence, the reason why it’s on my Top Ten. 😀
The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle : If you see the cover in person, you would love it as much as I do. The colors of the background and the font is just perfection!
Perfect by Ellen Hopkins : What more can I say? PERFECT!
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black : I love the arrangement of the cover and how chic it is!
Fallen by Lauren Kate : I love the darkness and mystery behind this cover! It intrigued me to envelop myself within the novel.
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick : The gray cover, the image, and the feathers are perfect to represent Hush, Hush.
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting : The simple flower is an amazing representation of the novel. (And I’m just obsessed with flowers!)
Until next time…
Catcha later bookworms!
Hello, Bookworms and welcome to this week’s Feature Friday. Every Friday, you can see cool bookish videos, announcements, author interviews, and much more! So come back and see what’s new! This Friday is an author interview with the amazing, Britt Nunes! Thank you Britt for taking the time to answer these questions and joining us here on Bookwormstothemax!
Britt: First off, let me say you made this little, literary dork so ecstatic that you asked me for an interview! Thank you so very much, I’m sending you spaceships full of thanks! Okay, now I’ll get into your questions.
Eileen: Where did you get the idea for your debut novel, Etched?
Britt: The idea for Etched came from desperation. I just trashed a story I was trying to make work, and had nothing rolling around in my head; which is a very heartbreaking thing for a writer. I work in a grocery store, in the bakery mostly, and when I label my product to put out I have so many labels that I roll them up and slap them on my forearm. Yup, simple as that! It started off with a few questions: What if someone had to hide something on their forearm? Why? What would it be? Then, the prologue and first chapter popped into my head. Opening a word document, I started to write. I didn’t even know what I was writing; I just needed to write something! This nameless girl had a story for me, and I would discover all her secrets if I just kept writing.
Eileen: Why did you decide to become an author?
Britt:Because my characters will not leave me alone, and it seems to be okay to talk to all the imaginary people in your head if you say you’re an author (hahaha…writer humor). I’m a dork; I can’t help poking fun at myself. I always dabbled in writing, but it wasn’t until I was college that I started taking it seriously. It’s funny that I never took any writing courses, other than required English, but I loved words and stories. It wasn’t until I finished my first novel (it’s trashed now), that I thought of myself as a writer. Having a completed novel just makes you want to share it with everybody, hoping they get as enthralled as you did.
Eileen:If you could meet any author, who would it be? and why?
Britt: It’s a tie between two: Teri Hall & Marissa Meyers.
They are both amazing writers and storytellers. Hall’s books actually gave me a lot of inspiration when I first started writing Etched.
Eileen: What is your favorite book (or books) ?
Britt: Teri Hall: The Line Series
She has amazing prose and the plot was sweet. It was such a quick, fun read. That series has a special spot in my heart.
Marissa Meyers: The Lunar Chronicles
I love this series (can’t wait for Winter!). It has everything, action, amazing plot, and romance. Her books make me feel like a terrible writer because that’s just how awesome they are!
Eileen: What is your writing environment like?
Britt:Ideally: Starbuck’s coffee, my laptop, early in the morning (like 4 AM/6 AM), and alone in my apartment.
Normally: Starbuck’s coffee (that’s the one think I can’t skimp on…I need my coffee!), and whenever my mind is awake enough for complex thinking. I work midnights – baking breads, bagels, pies, cookies, etc. – all through the night, so when I get off my brain, most times, refuses to work. So, I take what I can get; which means my writing schedule is all over the place. I also write everywhere it’s comfortable and quiet, switching from my table, to my bed, to the floor, and sometimes even the bathroom.
Eileen: How do you balance writing with other things in your life?
Britt: I’m still learning that…hahaha. My goal is to become a full-time writer; I think that would help a lot with my balancing.
Eileen: What advice would you give an inspiring author?
Britt: It’s nothing new, but it’s oh so true…kept writing. Also, do your research, search out people who will give you honest feedback, don’t be scared to trash work that doesn’t work for your overall story (yes, even stuff you would sell your kid brother to keep), and don’t give up. All I have is my love for words, stories, and determination. Not to be all daytime talk show on you guys, but if I can do it, you so can too.
Eileen: Do you have any hobbies or interests unrelated to books?
Britt: I like to hang out with my sisters and be reminded just how much I love their weirdness.
Eileen:If you weren’t an author, what would you be?
Britt: A dinosaur tamer, alien cyborg or a star fisher (hahaha). I’m an author. I can’t seem to fight it, trust me I’ve tried, my characters always win. Anything else is just crazy talk!
Eileen: What are you working on now? a sequel? something new?
Britt: I’m in the middle of editing the next installment of The Etched Tales, Hushed (#2). I’m also, brainstorming for the 3rd book. Lastly, I’m trying to thwart off a new series that is creeping into my brain (Get back! Get back! I have the Tales to finish! Hahaha). My brain is always loud with chaos.
I write to give my literary lungs a stretch – to express and explore. I write because I’m a dork that’s addicted to rich words, suspenseful stories, flecks of romance, and massive amounts of coffee. So people can be whisked away for as long as their nose is safely tucked inside my story. For the teenager that’s trapped inside my body that clamors for more pages to read. I write out of pure insanity, weirdoness, and overall, love.
I am so excited to share this book with you all.
I bet most of you know by now that I absolutely LOVE Colleen Hoover. She writes, in my opinion, the best contemporary romance novels. I recently did a review on her newest book, Maybe Someday (See the review here). Her next book is called…
Goodreads Summary: When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.
Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.
They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.
Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.
The cover has not been released yet, but I am so excited to see it! Ugly Love will be released August 5th, 2014.
Until next time…
Catcha later bookworms!
This week’s Waiting On Wednesday is Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins! Okay, I have to admit that I was disappointed with Lola and the Boy Next Door (Review coming soon!). I had high expectations for it and Lola just let me down. I hope that Isla and the Happily Ever After redeems the series. After Anna and Etienne, there are some large shoes to fill. I can’t wait to continue on with the series!!
Goodreads Summary: From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.
Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
Until next time….
Catcha later bookworms!
Thank you to Destini from Uniquely Portable Magic for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. It means so much knowing that other great bloggers admire and appreciate my blog. It gives me hope that one day Bookwormstothemax will grow into something big. It is such an honor to be nominated by Uniquely Portable Magic. I have always loved Destini’s blog and her spectacular reviews. She runs one of the best blogs I’ve seen so I definitely urge you to check out her blog! A few months ago, I never thought I’d be interested in starting a blog. After 4 months of blogging, I wouldn’t want my life either way. Being immersed in the book blog community and being able to read such beautiful books inspires me to one day be an author. Thank you to my amazing followers for reading my reviews, giving me your suggestions, and making Bookworms to the max what it is today, You guys rock!
The Beautiful Blogger Award is an honor bestowed by fellow bloggers to show how much they love reading your blog and appreciate the beauty in your words.
1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo.
2. Thank the person who nominated you and create a link back.
3. Nominate 7 (yes only seven) other bloggers and say a little something about them.
1. Little Onion Writes- I LOVE Little Onion’s reviews! Little Onion has the best taste in books and has the funniest posts! Check her out!
2.Book Nerd Erie- I loved booknerderie! She’s my definition of a die-hard bookworm. She is such an amazing follower and leaves me the cutest comments!
3. Under The Mountain- I love Vickie’s blog! I always have to come by her blog to check if a certain book is worth reading.. Check her out!
4. Cool Girls Read Too- Anna’s blog is probably one of my favorite book blogs. Just her homepage is super cute. Her blog is the reason why my TBR list keeps on getting longer and longer!
5. The YA Book Spot- The YA Book Spot is such a rad blog. Her reviews are amazing, thorough, and make me want each and every book!
6. The YA Bookworm- The YA Bookworm is the first blog I have followed. Caitlin is such a nice blogger and helped me so much by answering my questions when I first started blogging. I definitely recommend that you check her blog out!
7. Readers In Wonderland- Alise runs an amazing blog. I always look forward to her reviews and trust her opinions on books! Check this blog out!
Until next time….
Catcha later bookworms!!